Merriam-Webster has long defined a “woman” as an “adult female person.” This definition is accurate, but it begs the question: what exactly is a “female”?

The dictionary, which refers to itself as “America’s most trusted authority on the English language,” first defines that word to mean, “of, relating to, or being the sex that typically has the capacity to bear young or produce eggs.” 

But in 2020, Merriam-Webster added an additional definition of “female” to its website: “having a gender identity that is the opposite of male.”

On July 19, Daily Wire podcast host and commentator Matt Walsh tweeted a screenshot of the Merriam-Webster definition.

People subsequently voiced their disapproval on Twitter, some claiming that the dictionary had caved to trans activists. News outlets also covered the renewed controversy over the expanded definition.

On the same day that Walsh tweeted the picture, conservative Twitter account Libs of TikTok posted the Merriam-Webster definition of “girl.” The dictionary defines a “girl” as “a person whose gender identity is female.” 

An “adult female person” is a grown-up human being who possesses certain specific sex traits different from those of the male sex. This has been undisputed for most of human history.

By redefining “female,” Merriam-Webster denies any connection between sex and biology. Thus, woman can be defined solely on the basis of a person’s subjective feelings — even if that person has male genitalia and male DNA.

The Women’s Bill of Rights (WBOR) seeks to accomplish what the oldest dictionary publisher in the U.S. is struggling to do. The bill does not create new rights or privileges. Rather, it would define in law basic sex-based terms, recognizing that proper definitions presuppose the promotion of women’s rights. For the purpose of interpreting legislation, the WBOR defines a female as “an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova.” Women and girls, in turn, are “human females.”

Legally defining such words has become the civil rights battle of this generation. The WBOR provides concrete definitions to help defend women’s rights in a society that is increasingly denying material reality.